Paarl_Top Tips_2022

Top tips for keeping our bodies fighting fit in 2022

by Helen Prozeksy

As a Dietitian who has a special interest in working with cancer patients, I often get asked what foods can prevent cancer. Cancer is a very complex disease so there is no easy answer to this commonly asked question. The good news, however, is that the food we eat can impact our health and how we react to our body coming under attack from all diseases. These are my top tips for keeping our bodies fighting fit in 2022.

Eat more fruit and vegetables. We need to eat a rainbow of colours everyday, make sure to eat one of each colour!

  • Red: Red peppers, beetroot, berries, red cabbage, tomatoes, watermelon and plums
  • Green: Lettuce, baby spinach, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, asparagus
  • Orange: Carrots, butternut, pumpkin, orange peppers and melon, peaches, oranges, nectarines
  • Yellow: Gem squash, yellow peppers, yellow tomatoes, yellow plums
  • Black: Blue berries, aubergines (eggplants)
  • White: Cauliflower, kohlrabi, parsnips and apples. (The flesh is white even if the skin is colourful)

Be adventuresome with fruit and vegetables and try something new. The new guidelines state that we should aim for 20 different fruit and vegetables in a week, so don’t eat the same ones every day. Variety is the key to health.

Eat more Omega 3 fatty acids

The omega-three fatty acids found in fatty fish are potent anti-inflammatory foods. Try to eat fatty fish 2 x times a week. Fish rich in omega-three fatty acids include:

Cheaper options:

  • Pilchards and sardines. These can be tinned
  • Fish paste
  • More expensive options:
  • Salmon trout and Norwegian salmon

Eat more beans and lentils

  • These pack a power punch of fibre energy and protein for a healthy gut. The fibre in beans and lentils feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut known as the gut biome.
  • Try to eat at least 3 portions every week for a healthy gut.

Don’t cut out all starchy foods

Not all starchy foods are created equal. Whole-grain starch is important for energy and fiber in the body and should be eaten daily. Replace the refined starchy food with whole grains for a healthier 2022. Whole grains are important for feeding our gut biome as well.

Some good examples of healthy starch swaps include:

  • Brown rice for white rice
  • Quinoa for couscous
  • Sweet potatoes for potatoes
  • Oats porridge for cereal.
  • Try soaking oats in milk overnight and the next morning adding a grated apple and a handful of berries for sweetness instead of sugary breakfast cereals.
  • Eggs on wholewheat or sour dough toast is also a good alternative to sweetened breakfast cereals.

Try some fermented foods

  • These are very good at keeping your gut bacteria in tip top shape.
  • Drink Kambucha instead of fruit juice
  • Try Kimchi and sauerkraut. Most delis stock these foods now.
  • Maas or kefir as it is known these days is also a healthy addition to add to smoothies.

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